Pontifical Basilica of Santa Maria della Pace
The cathedral of Santa Maria della Pace is tangible proof of the enormous collective effort and the greatest legacy that our ancestors managed to pass on, called the "Mount among the mountains" precisely because of its importance and grandeur.
The structural work is linked to the sacred temple in a mix between sacredness and revolutionary undertaking, both from an engineering-architectural point of view and for the conception of the building itself, in fact, it is part of a three-level complex where, in order growing, there is the ancient city cemetery, the Succorpo, the church of Monte dei Morti - Beata Vergine del Carmelo and the cathedral itself.
It was built on a part of the old medieval collegiate church of Santa Maria della Giudeca (church documented for the first time in an instrument of 1112), close to the course of the Tenza river, in the primordial neighborhood of the same name Giudeca one of the first to arise in the ancient town.
Its construction was commissioned thanks to the intercession of the noble Campagnase Melchiorre Guerriero, Count Palatine, abbreviator of the Kingdom of Naples and Master of the Pontifical Briefs during the pontificate of the popes belonging to the De' Medici family, Leo X and Clement VII, who thanks to his friendship with the feudal lord of the time, Duke Ferdinando Orsini, appealed to the popes to recognize in Campagna respectively the title of City in 1518 and the institution of the Diocese in 1525 and for this, the building was thought of as a symbol that could worthily represent the newly acquired titles.
However, the works began only in 1564 according to the post-Renaissance guidelines of the time, from there a very long process began, made up of sacrifices both in economic and social terms, in fact, the works, at least of the interiors, will be completed "only ” a century later, precisely in 1683, the year of his consecration. Some local historians assert that materials from the Roman era found in the area were used to lay the first stones.
For the definitive completion and therefore also of the exterior and the embellishments, it took as many years, for some it was only in 1750 that the cathedral was completed and consigned to history.
Terms that are a bit tight for us, in fact we can easily define the Temple as being in continuous renovation if we calculate the numerous interventions it has had to undergo over the centuries. The last were those of post-earthquake restructuring of 1980, but we will talk about this later.
The interiors have a Latin cross with three naves and a bell tower, which rises majestically with its "onion" roof. The facade is in Renaissance style, with three entrances and large windows, surmounted by triangular and semicircular tympanums.
Following the joint directives in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council of 1962 (where the Secretary was the then Bishop of Campagna Jolando Nuzzi) the furnishings are presented in a simple way (in total contrast to the style that manifested itself until the early 1960s ); in the presbytery are the high altar, built by S. Chirola in 1772, the wooden crucifix from 1768, the ambo and the seat of the bishop. In the other rooms there is the pulpit in precious polychrome marble from the 18th century and the pipe organ from 1759.
There are also various canvases that adorn it, in sequence we will find:
• Santa Maria della Pace (15th century stone statue);
• Our Lady of Peace (18th century canvas);
• Nativity of the Virgin (18th century canvas);
• Martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul (18th century canvas);
• The Supper at Emmaus (18th century canvas);
• Santa Maria Domenica (18th century canvas);
• The Presentation in the Temple (canvas);
• Sant'Antonino with San Catello (canvas);
• San Carlo Borromeo (canvas);
• Sant'Apollinare (canvas);
• St. Francis of Paola (canvas);
• Coronation of the Madonna of Avigliano, (19th century canvas);
• Universal Deluge, fresco from 1881 (19th century canvas);
In 1800 Msgr. Salvatore Nappi wanted to decorate the interior of the cathedral in the late Baroque style, entrusting the work to the Bolognese artist Rinaldo Casanova. In March 1925, thanks to the tireless work and great passion of Msgr. Carmine Cesarano, country bishop, Pope Pius XI elevated it to the dignity of Pontifical Basilica ( minor basilica).
On the lower floor, in addition to the aforementioned church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of Carmel and the ancient city cemetery, we find the Crypt. The construction work began on 1 June 1564 and ended in 1642.
Initially conceived as a new cathedral that would take the place of the aforementioned medieval church, for its construction the course of the river Tenza was diverted and stone material from abandoned buildings in the plains bordering the river Sele in the Campagna area were used, currently under renovation. presents with a Latin cross environment in which the local stone altar and the balustrade both from the 1600s and the funeral monument of Benedetto Tercasio, notable Campagnase. Maintenance and restoration works have taken place over the years, the main and most recent are certainly those of the second post-war period and those made necessary after being seriously damaged during the 1980 earthquake, it underwent a long period of restoration, which ended in the year jubilee of 1999.